BEACH, CALIF. – The
seventh of New Jersey’s 13 new airlifters departed the
factory this afternoon bearing the namesake of New Jersey’s
most famous World War II fighter pilot. It is scheduled to
land at the air base that also bears his name at approximately
4:30 p.m. (EST) today (March 8, 2005).
Spirit of Tommy McGuire lives on a little more boldly
today," said Congressman Jim Saxton. "Tommy McGuire
was one of the great fighter pilots of all time. It is an
has supported dedicating a C-17 plane specifically in
McGuire’s honor since June 2001, several months after the
Air Force agreed to send McGuire a full squadron of airlifters
worth over $2 billion. The first C-17 plane to come in
September 2004 is the only other dedicated aircraft, holding
the title "Spirit of New Jersey."
also commented on a newly released study that details the
relatively low noise levels of of the 13 C-17s coming to
McGuire AFB compared to the 32 C-141 Starlifters retired from
McGuire AFB over the last five years.
many people in South Jersey who support our bases, I’ve
heard C-17s fly overhead and I’ve heard C-141s fly
overhead," Saxton said. "I find that C-17s are a
marvel of engineering because they are about the same size as
a C-141, but can carry twice as much cargo and make
considerably less noise."
study, conducted by Boeing, measures effective perceived noise
in decibels (EPNDB) on the ground from aircraft taking off and
landing. The company said that a reduction of 10 EPNDB reduces
audible noise by about one-half. Noise levels are typically
higher during take off and landings, as engines are used to
increase or slow speed. C-17s measured 11 EPNBD quieter than
C-141s on takeoff, and 9 EPNDB quieter on approach.
C-141 Starlifters served McGuire Air Force Base and the nation
well," said Saxton, fourth highest-ranking among 61
members of the House Armed Services Committee. "But the
C-17 is the cleanest, quietest airlifter ever built. Because
it carries more cargo, a single C-17 can also do the work of
September, C-17 Globemasters have begun arriving at a rate of
about one a month at McGuire.
the insignia "P-131" (for the 131ST C-17
plane), the plane departed the Long Beach, Calif. factory
flown by Lt. Gen. William Welser III, a former C-141 pilot and
instructor pilot, who has also piloted KC-10 Extenders. Welser
also commanded the Air Mobility Warfare Center on Fort Dix. He
is the current commander of the 18th Air Force at
Scott AFB, headquarters of the Air Mobility Command, to which
McGuire AFB belongs.
was also the tail number of Maj. Thomas B. McGuire’s
fighter, who died on Jan. 7, 1945 in a dogfight over the
Phillippines after his aircraft is believed to have stalled in
an aerial maneuver. He was born in Ridgeway, N.J. in 1920.
Congress awarded McGuire the nation’s highest honor, the
Congressional Medal of Honor, in 1946. Congress also renamed
the Army’s Rudd Field as McGuire Air Force Base in 1948.
worked to keep the C-17 program alive in the late 1980s and
early 1990s when the first models then built by
McDonnell-Douglas were plagued with problems. The problems
were fixed, and the plane has since earned a reputation as the
finest airlifter ever built. Saxton, an authority on airlift
issues in Congress, has led and continues to lead the fight to
build enough C-17s to serve our nation’s national security
fact is that we need more of them while the factory is still
turning them out," Saxton said. "We have 180 on
order, and we need at least 60 more. We had a total of 270
C-141s built by the late 1970s, but we rely on airlift more
today than ever before for global operations. Frankly, I’d
like to see close to 300 built."
headquartered at Scott AFB has designated McGuire as its East
Coast Air Mobility Center, and Lead Mobility Wing for
transatlantic operations. McGuire also has 18 KC-135
Stratotankers and 31 KC-10 Extenders, both cargo and refueling